Anton lives in the corporate world; he breathes the hustle and bustle of the concrete jungle. He seems like your average yuppie: finished his MBA, works a day job, dabbles in photography… if only they were that. Instead his Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship from Ateneo GSB is put to good use daily in his many roles: first, as one of the youngest Country Managers of an international company, second, as an owner of an f&b franchisor, and third, as a globetrotting Instagram influencer.
Anton is behind Cotecna Elite Philippines Inc., a leading third-party audit, training, testing, inspection, and certification (ATTIC) global provider dedicated to developing and employing Filipinos in different provinces so they can provide local companies with world-class assurance services. With a bustling professional workforce of more than 300 employees in the Philippines, Anton has certainly carved himself a top spot in a niche industry, and yet despite his success, you can still see him in action, always in pursuit of bettering himself and others around him. This is why they recently launched their capacity-building initiative The Cotecna Institute, a training facility providing technical and vocational education to further professionalize the industry. It also provides leadership and skills enhancement seminars available to the youth in partnership with various government agencies.
His passion for empowering people goes beyond the confines of skyscrapers and traffic jams, and this is seen in We The People Coffee and Tea Company, a homegrown farm-to-palate coffee shop with three branches in Manila that serves handcrafted specialty coffee made from locally sourced and roasted beans. It also features curated products from students and budding entrepreneurs, as well as art pieces from illustrators, writers, and photographers from metro south, including his pieces from his internet-famous IG @antonorts, with over 90,000 followers and counting. There you can see his travels around the globe, captured in their wonder with Anton’s unique take on lines, shapes, and colors. When asked how he can manage to find time to take such beautiful photos in his busy life, he answers: “Social media provides an escape – a means to find inspiration and breathing spaces in other realities.” It’s no wonder that he takes such poignant and inspired images.
Here are some questions I asked him:
How did you make a name for yourself in your industry?
By taking photos of unique things, creating moments through everyday life experiences
What obstacles did you face to get to where you are now?
I was young when I started managing our family business. It was hard to improve our corporate culture in the beginning because more senior employees did not listen and were resistant to change.
How did you overcome these obstacles?
Lead by example and worked hard to get more clients. I implemented programs within the company that empowered our employees to make decisions and lead their teams independently. This infused in them a feeling of ownership and it leads to positive growth and unity amongst each other.